Permed Out Showcase 3, Cabooze, 12/22/12

Permed Out Showcase 3, Cabooze, 12/22/12
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

Permed Out Showcase 3
With Audio Perm, Greg Grease and Mike the Martyr

The Cabooze

The Audio Perm crew packed the house once again at their third Permed Out Showcase, a night devoted to producers Cory Grindberg, Taylor Madrigal, and Julian Fairbanks and the rappers for whom they make beats. Their shows exude youthful energy and raucous crowds, and Saturday was no exception.

Greg Grease and Mike the Martyr were both appropriate choices for openers, and not simply because they are rising stars in the scene. Both rappers are producers at heart, and have each built a solid act from the roots of making their own beats. Besides showing off a talent at rhyming and owning the stage, their sets both highlight some truly excellent instrumental work as well, which fit the Audio Perm aesthetic of grounding the music in the production. Joining the openers on stage were a flurry of guests, including Big Wiz, TUSS, Freez, and Mike Mictlan, who bursted forth during Grease's set for the gigantic "WZRD SCIENCE." The chaotic mass of people onstage would only continue to escalate as the sprawling Audio Perm crew took to their set.
Permed Out Showcase 3, Cabooze, 12/22/12
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

Past Audio Perm shows have touted a clusterfuck of group energy, flaunting the whole group as one massive unit, but this show was tailored to individual performances. Cory Grindberg introduced each of the MCs from the crew to do solo sets, starting with Yakub, who rocked some reggae-tinged tracks to get things rolling. Chantz Erolin came up next and ran through some of his solo tracks and some Art School Girls material, rapping about girls, war, and getting tested for STDs, all while draped in the American flag and running maniacally about the stage. Ramiro X, 80H20, and Unfuh Qwittable came out as Scoundrel Nation, an off-shoot trio within the Audio Perm camp (there's a lot of contingents to keep track of with these guys), who continued the politically-minded raps with songs about minimum wage, white privilege, and organizing.

Unfuh Qwittable introduced a song focusing on the odd phenomenon of Waka Flocka Flame's white listener base, set to a beat strikingly similar to Waka's signature sound, with a diatribe about white privilege that hopefully struck home with the audience. The track itself was one of the strongest and most infectious of the whole set, which drove the point even further by displaying rap music's power in disguising a message within an impossible-to-deny beat. It reminded me of something Chris Rock said about messages in rap music: "People don't have a problem with conscious rap; they have a problem with conscious beats."

Audio Perm are a premiere example of that statement. The beats are contemporary, non-maudlin bangers that play to the trap-minded crowd while still conveying conscious themes in the lyrics. They're proving that music can be thought-provoking and twerk-provoking at the same damn time.

Permed Out Showcase 3, Cabooze, 12/22/12

Permed Out Showcase 3, Cabooze, 12/22/12
Permed Out Showcase 3, Cabooze, 12/22/12
Permed Out Showcase 3, Cabooze, 12/22/12
Photos by Anna Gulbrandsen

Big Dylan, who had played host most of the night, came down the stairs rapping from a level up to begin his set, which pulled from his recently-dropped "From the Southside With Love". He continued the political themes, dropping some knowledge on recent mass shootings and curbing homophobic language. Meanwhile, Cory Grindberg threw turnips into the audience and told everyone to "Turn Up". Sure. After a brief stint with Freez and Big Dylan, Bobby Raps came out to announce it was his birthday and to play a set of mostly new material with his recent collaborator Muja Messiah (!). The two are putting out an album together very soon, and from the material they performed it stands to be a pretty interesting project.

Bobby basically busted his voice through the end of the night, and yet never missed a beat; he raps remarkably hard on stage for someone whose fast raps tend to be more laid-back when recorded. He invited people on stage, and a few entirely wasted blonde girls began to smoke blunts and dance poorly as he continued the set. Despite his self-indulgent collaboration with Lydia Hoglund of Bomba de Luz where he crooned and played piano, the set remained one of the liveliest. The long-delayed debut of the "Spark One" video came afterwards, which served as a convenient excuse to smoke a lot onstage, after which Audio Perm rappers began to do various songs from all over their catalog to close out the night, followed by a DJ set from the producers themselves. 

The whole night was one big surge of energy. The individual sets highlighted the quality of the songs on their own, but the end of the set proved they've got an explosive energy that is difficult to find anywhere else.

Critic's Bias: I've always liked this crew and they make me feel like I'm below drinking age again.

The Crowd: Mostly younger kids, who reminded me that no, I actually am old. Lots of local rappers in the crowd as supporters.

Overheard In The Crowd: Confusion about why there were turnips floating around.

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